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ER health insurance: no worries!
Old 12-16-2011, 10:10 AM   #1
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ER health insurance: no worries!

I was thinking about ER while driving to work today and listening to a bit on the radio about medical insurance for ERers. I was soooooo glad that I'm living in MA as you never have to worry about being refused insurance for health reasons, ie pre existing conditions. MA premiums are higher than the national average, but it's an expensive state for everything, and the minimum approved plan gives quite a high level of cover. The state is getting a hold of premium increases average 4.8% last year and is looking at costs and also a single payer system similar to Vermont's system.

I imagine MA will not be everyone's idea of the best ER health care state, for reasons of cost, freedom etc, but as I can afford the premiums and like the certainty it's good for me. So what would be your top ER health insurance state and why?
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:04 AM   #2
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I'm hoping to COBRA (or better if I can) until 2014 and get one of the Obamacare plans then if it survives that long. Unless it turns out that our pre-existing conditions do not make current options too expensive. We'll find out in late 2012 when DW thinks she'll finally join me in retirement. If all that works out, then state plans won't matter too much.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:43 PM   #3
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If I had a health issue in ER, and was worried about coverage and costs, I didnt think Mass. premium costs were that unreasonable. At least when I looked at it about a year ago. However, with that being said, I benefit tremendously from being healthy and in a state the underwrites premiums. I feel like my premium is missing a decimal point somewhere compared to other states premiums. My individual plan is actually free once you account for the tax deduction of depositing 3k into a HSA. Knowing my premiums were cheap and being healthy allowed me to jump into ER quicker than if that was not the case.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:30 PM   #4
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I am ER'd in Arizona but have lived in MA. I have a HD HSA plan in AZ and pay $181/month with a $5500 deductible. Using ehealthinsurance.com I could only find two available HSA plans in MA at my old zip code. They both have a $1250 deductible and the lowest premium was $530/month. In AZ I have a choice of 28 HSA plans with a wide range of deductibles and premiums. Since my health is good I like having the option of a higher deductible/lower premium plan.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zinger1457
I am ER'd in Arizona but have lived in MA. I have a HD HSA plan in AZ and pay $181/month with a $5500 deductible. Using ehealthinsurance.com I could only find two available HSA plans in MA at my old zip code. They both have a $1250 deductible and the lowest premium was $530/month. In AZ I have a choice of 28 HSA plans with a wide range of deductibles and premiums. Since my health is good I like having the option of a higher deductible/lower premium plan.
Costs will be higher in MA because of the higher cost of living, the pool can't exclude the sick and the deductibles tend to be lower. Using the MA Connector website I can get a 2000/4000 police for just under $400/month. That's twice the cost of some states, but factoring in the coverage, insured pool and cost of living I think it's pretty good

If you are healthy MA isn't the "best" place to live as you have to have insurance, it's the law, and it's a big part of the monthly budget. But it's a good place to be sick: good hospitals the policies have to give a minimum level of coverage and your premiums won't go up after an illness or if you have a chronic condition
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
.....The state is getting a hold of premium increases average 4.8% last year and is looking at costs and also a single payer system similar to Vermont's system.
To be clear, Vermont has not yet implemented single payer - they are simply looking hard at it. I think it will be challenging for them to make the numbers work, but time will tell.

My ER high deductible plan premiums will be about the same as my COBRA. I would love to be able to get health insurance for $181/month - perhaps AZ is in my future after all.

How much would the premium for a $5500 deductible in your old MA zip code be? I doesn't seem fair to compare a premiums for a $5,500 deductible to a premium for a $1,250 deductible.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:28 PM   #7
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If you are healthy MA isn't the "best" place to live as you have to have insurance, it's the law

Yeah, but the penalty is only like $900/year. ;-)
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zinger1457
I am ER'd in Arizona but have lived in MA. I have a HD HSA plan in AZ and pay $181/month with a $5500 deductible. Using ehealthinsurance.com I could only find two available HSA plans in MA at my old zip code. They both have a $1250 deductible and the lowest premium was $530/month. In AZ I have a choice of 28 HSA plans with a wide range of deductibles and premiums. Since my health is good I like having the option of a higher deductible/lower premium plan.
That is nice to know insurance is reasonable out there since we will be heading out there in a few years. I have a 5k or 5500k now that is $71 in MO and it would about $130 out there. Nevada was higher, but my lady friend will not let us move there as she is paranoid, I wouldnt ever leave the sportsbook.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
How much would the premium for a $5500 deductible in your old MA zip code be? I doesn't seem fair to compare a premiums for a $5,500 deductible to a premium for a $1,250 deductible.
I used ehealthinsurance.com to check rates and they didn't offered a $5500 deductible HSA plan at my old MA zip code. MA only offered two HSA plans and they both had $1250 deductibles. The problem was more a lack of choices, don't understand why they wouldn't offer HSA plans with a higher deductible. The IRS deductible limits for HSA plans for 2011 are a minimum of $1200 and a high of $5950. Not sure why MA is stuck at the very low limit, it results in very high premiums.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:47 PM   #10
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If you are healthy MA isn't the "best" place to live as you have to have insurance, it's the law

Yeah, but the penalty is only like $900/year. ;-)
The cheapest policy I can get in MA is $326/month and that has a $2000 deductible and $5000 annual out of pocket max. That's $1740 a year more than zinger's $5500 deductible plan in AZ.

In MA the state mandates you buy a plan and they set a fairly high level of minimum coverage. You don't have to worry about getting coverage if you have a pre-existing condition because those higher premiums everyone pays subsidize the premiums of the less healthy. As I said MA is an expensive state to the healthy in, but if you're ill it's a good deal.

The way I'd put it is that MA's system is designed for the sick while many systems are designed for the healthy. The MA system is far from perfect, but I think it has the emphasis right.
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